“I have been running so sweaty my whole life. Urgent for a finish line. And I have been missing the rapture this whole time of being forever incomplete.” –
Alanis Morissette (from the song Forever Incomplete)
These lyrics seem to wrap around my soul and call me forward, further into the depths of my own being, closer to offering all that I had to give, while at the same time stepping off of this hamster wheel.
Racing toward my goals and beating myself up about my lack of focus, my lack of certain skills, my lack of… anything has gotten me nowhere but further down the road to exhaustion and burn out.
I pause in the late afternoon sun of a gorgeous spring day, and I reflect on the fact that I have accomplished a lot in my life. (Forget that most of it doesn’t spell “success” in this, commerce driven society. I began to see that, I myself, am the only one qualified to label what I do as successful, or not.)
What have these achievements brought me? If nothing else, the joy of doing something that felt unlikely, or even impossible
All of this leads me to wonder why we are hurling ourselves toward the finish line – desperate to do this, or to be that, or to get this other thing, as if happiness will be waiting for us when we break through the tape at the end of the race. That happiness is as elusive as the giant teddy bear at a ring toss booth.
Where we can find happiness, while continuing to strive for greatness, is in celebrating successes (however small), sitting with the hard stuff and allowing it to be, and in knowing that, while the goal is always shrinking away from us, our purpose is not always to pass it and continue on to something ever higher.
Our purpose is to move toward it. To reach. And to love ourselves even when we trip over our own feet the second we start out, to love ourselves enough to get up, brushoff, and start walking again.
Are you experiencing burnout? How can you mitigate it? I’d love to hear your process! If you don’t even know where to begin, let me know. I will do my best to point you in the right direction.